It’s important to keep an eye on Vitamin D, especially during winter.
Even though you wouldn’t think it, since your body gets Vitamin D from the sun, almost 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of Vitamin D, and they aren’t all sequestered in the Northern hemisphere.
Your body creates Vitamin D from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight, and it can also be found in Omega-3 rich fatty fish, and some dairy products. But still, in the United States alone, over 41% of adults are Vitamin D deficient.
Obviously you can pretty easily take Vitamin D supplements to increase your levels, but first you should figure out if you are Vitamin D deficient. Here are five ways to tell:
Low immunity to illness. Common or reoccurring illnesses like colds, pneumonia, and bronchitis can be a result of low Vitamin D, since the vitamin directly interacts with the cells in your body that are responsible for fighting off infections.
Back or Bone pain/Bone loss. One of the functions of Vitamin D is to increase calcium absorption in the body. In one study, it was discovered that Vitamin D deficient people were almost twice as likely to experience bone pain in their legs, ribs, and joints. In older people, this can equate to bone loss, so it’s especially important for the elderly to keep an eye on their Vitamin D.
Slow wound healing. Another role of Vitamin D is to aid in healing and wound repair, and control inflammation. If you have slow-healing wounds it might be a good idea to check your Vitamin D levels, and take some supplements if necessary.
Depression. We can probably all relate to this one, especially during winter, but Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to depression, especially in older adults. So if you are feeling the sads, it might just be seasonal depression, but it could also be a lack of Vitamin D. So force yourself to go outside and see if you feel any better.
Fatigue. Even though fatigue and tiredness are symptoms of almost everything, they can also signal that your body needs more Vitamin D. One study found that women with low levels of Vitamin D in their blood (below 20 ng/ml) were more likely to complain about fatigue than those will levels over 30 ng/ml. So if you are tired all the time, it’s worth it to get your levels checked.